Welcome back dear friends! It is my joy to share with you this reflection on God’s Word for this first Sunday of the liturgical year, the First Sunday of Advent. In the Gospel according to St. Mark, we find good news in words that have created anxiety for many Christians due to the dreadful interpretations of the last days before Jesus’ second coming.
Advent is a time of waiting, of hopeful expectation as we remember the promised Redeemer coming to earth his first time in a manger, and also as we wait for his second coming in glory. Please pay attention to this reading today.
The Holy Gospel according to St. Mark, the 13th chapter. (24-37)
Glory to you, oh Lord.
“But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert;[b] for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”
The Gospel of Our Lord.
Praise to you, oh Christ!
Grace and peace are yours form God the Creator and from Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
This certainly has been a very different year all around. We particularly see how weird it is, in the way we are celebrating our holidays. In other years pasts, we had video chat for a while with some family members, but with all of them by video conference? Really? Many of us didn’t even cook a full turkey, and others are having leftovers for several weeks! Unfortunately, it seems this coming Christmas will be very much like our Thanksgiving.
We certainly have been learning so much during this pandemic, not just how to keep physically safe, but also more about ourselves internally as a whole.
Our Gospel reading today calls us to reflect on the meanings of times. It brings us to this time of now, and not yet. Jesus was predicting something that was about to happen during the first readers generation, the destruction of the temple. A very big deal for the Jews. But he also made reference to the end of times, however encouraging us not to worry about when in the future this will happen, but rather to focus on how we live our lives in our present time. Any pretense to find or even teach about the end of times, the Second Coming of the Christ, is pure useless speculation.
We have heard our share of speculations this year, about Covid-19, about the presidential election, about solutions for civil hate and violence, our psychological wellbeing during quarantine, and much more. We have been seriously disrupted this year. It is in this disruption where we are able to see God. God disrupted our humanity, incarnating as Jesus of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem of Judea. The world has not been the same since then.
Jesus calls us as his disciples today to beware, and more than ever we are being aware of those things that may harm us physical, emotional, and spiritually.
Jesus calls us to keep alert so we may see in this disruption the hand of God all around us. We prepare as we wait for the new time approaching when we as people of God will be given a new opportunity with great potential to be better disciples.
Jesus calls us to be awake so we may see our shame and guilt because of our own evil and fear and doubt, being disrupted by the forgiving, healing, and redeeming power of the living and returning Christ.
This disruption by God has freed us to work in God’s Kingdom of love. We can do no other but respond to those disruptions by being the people of God, waiting for those always new things in our lives, and with no worries about Jesus second coming in glory. Amen!
Let us pray,
Loving God, Renewer of Life, thank you for instilling in us your peace, which brings us hope for today and our future. Thank you for your Holy Spirit that helps us to keep awake. As we continue to make people, your disciples, open doors and ways for us to work while we wait. Be with those that today may need to feel your loving embrace, so they may be happy to be awake again. We pray all this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God now and forever. Amen.
Until next time, Stay with God’s blessing:
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord’s face shine on you with grace and mercy. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.